Hot bats lift Brigade past Topeka, despite weather delays

JC's Nic Swanson lines up to catch a foul ball in Tuesday night's win over the Topeka Golden Giants.

With lightning in the area, play at the Junction City Brigade’s game Tuesday night was delayed for more than 45 minutes night against the Topeka Golden Giants. When the weather temporarily cleared up, JC pitcher Bryce Hestand took the mound and gave the Brigade another successful start in front of its home crowd. 

The Brigade offense got going early with the top of the lineup doing some damage to the Golden Giants’ starting pitcher. Carson Sader started the offense with a base hit, and Tyler Halstead reached base safely on a bunt directly after. George Specht bunted to put both runners into scoring position. Zane Schmidt then came to the plate and knocked in a couple runs on a sacrifice fly due, after some lackadaisical fielding by the Golden Giants. This brought Hestand back out to do his job on the mound.

Hestand began the game by retiring the first seven batters he faced; all grounded out in the process. Lightning was spotted in the fourth inning, however, forcing teams into another delay. With Hestand still pitching in the sixth inning after a stop in the action, Topeka finally got to him. After surrendering a leadoff walk and base hit two batters later, Hestand gave up his first run of the game on a base hit to give JC an 8-1 lead. An RBI-double and walk followed that, forcing coach Derek Francis to go to the bullpen in the sixth inning with one out. Jacob Gilbert came in for the Brigade, and threw a wild pitch to his first batter, which scored another run. One more run came across on a groundout as the Brigade saw its lead get cut in half going into the bottom half of the sixth.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature struck again in the bottom of the seventh inning. The lightning returned and, with the game having gone through enough innings to be ruled as eligible for completion, the umpires decided to call it instead of going into another delay. The Brigade won 10-4, and will return home Thursday night to face off against The Barn Baseball Academy.

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